Faculty Spotlight: Joyce Holte

Joyce Holte

Joyce Holte
Department: Speech

Joyce Holte wanted to be involved in speech and theater thanks to Mrs. Randall, her high school Speech and English teacher in Ellendale, North Dakota.

Unfortunately, her conservative parents were not too pleased with the idea.

"While they encouraged me to pursue my dream, they also wanted me to be able to support myself," she said. "So I double majored in Speech/Theater and English and earned a certificate in Secondary Education. After student teaching and coaching a high school speech team, I was hooked!"

Holte graduated from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead and then completed a master's degree in Oral Interpretation from the University of Illinois, allowing her to teach either high school or college. Immediately after finishing, she applied for a full-time teaching position at College of DuPage but did not get it. Instead, she became a "gypsy" teacher and was employed at three area colleges, driving from one to the other every day.

One year later, another full-time position opened up at COD, and she was hired into her first -- and only -- full-time teaching position.

"I love to teach because of my students," she said. "I look at them and see their courage, determination and desire to learn. Many of them are facing tremendous challenges. Some are the first in their family to attend college. Many juggle school, work and family. Others are non-native speakers of English or are veterans returning from service overseas. I want to help them attain their goals.

"I understand how my students feel when they say they are terrified of public speaking. So I hope I can help them become more confident and to learn to control their nerves and to make that energy work for them rather than against them. I also want to teach them to trust themselves, to step outside their comfort zones and to take a risk."

One person who has truly inspired Holte and her teaching is her son, Ben. 

"While he is one of the most intelligent people I know, school did not always come easy for him," she said. "However, Ben’s ability to articulate his learning strengths as well as his learning challenges helped me to realize how so many students process information and often struggle to learn concepts. Years ago, when Ben was in grade school and we were discussing one of his school projects, he said, 'You know, Mom, I like working with you when we work together to find the answer, not when you already know the answer and lead me to it.' That taught me learning is a team effort. It’s so exciting when we learn from each other."

More about the Speech Communications program